The presidential race is still up in the air, with the media doing their best to invent stupidity like “the office of the president-elect” in order to prematurely declare Joe Biden victorious. While it’s possible, perhaps even probable, he may end up being sworn in this coming January, the counting and challenges are not finished nor has a winner been officially declared, no matter how much Chris Wallace and company want it to be so.
Regardless, the fight is already on about what the Republican Party will become over the next several years. Will there be a movement to backtrack to a Bush-esque vision, or will the GOP actually learn from the Trump era?
On that topic, Tom Cotton offered some advice every Republican should heed.
Tom Cotton: "If Republican politicians think we can just go back five years in time and go back to the agenda…that did not address the concerns of the broad working class of America, then that is a recipe for continuing to lose elections" https://t.co/CLqNRBQzTB
— Saagar Enjeti (@esaagar) November 11, 2020
Unfortunately, there’s a very clear movement building on the right that wants to do exactly that. While it’s certainly a minority, that movement is filled with many of the same establishment conservative voices that thought they had everything figured out in the decade preceding Trump’s rise. I’m not talking about The Lincoln Project or The Bulwark here. I’m talking about current, mainstream voices that tend to operate in good faith but are still perplexed by “Trumpism.” Any assertion that some aspects of Trump’s populism are actually good for the nation (and the party) causes them to revert to conservative Mad Libs, breathlessly spazzing out on buzzwords while avoiding any real discussion of what the GOP got wrong for so long. They desperately seek a return to the “normalcy” of Mitt Romney compared to what the party currently is.
But the party’s base is no longer really interested in just fluffing multi-billion dollar corporations while ignoring the plight of blue-collar workers, including things like the opioid epidemic. They also have no interest in ignoring the rule of law on topics like immigration. Think-tank grifters at the CATO institute insisting open borders help the economy don’t resonate. Free markets, fiscal responsibility, a fair immigration system, and caring about society as a whole can all co-exist together. Further, they must exist together if the GOP has any real future. A party that reverts to five years ago is a party that will fracture and die a quick death.
Tom Cotton understands this, though I fear too many of his colleagues believe going back to business as usual under a possible Biden presidency is actually a preferable outcome. Kristi Noem, already a 2024 frontrunner, called out that mindset some days ago.
GOP voters simply won’t tolerate that approach. The party leadership and shot callers have a decision to make. They should choose wisely.
(Please follow me on Twitter! @bonchieredstate)